The U.S. government violated the law by failing to properly manage the Gulf of Mexico Red Snapper fishery, a federal court ruled.
The Gulf Seafood Institute (GSI) reported Thursday that the decision means that "any future management actions for red snapper - including any potential reallocation of quota to the recreational sector - must be developed with adequate accountability measures consistent with the Court's order. National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) will have to revise its regulations governing the recreational red snapper fishery in the Gulf of Mexico to "require whatever accountability measures are necessary to constrain catch to the quota."
According to a press release from the GSI, U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia has ruled in favor of the 21 commercial fishermen on five counts of their suit against Penny Sue Pritzker, acting in the official capacity as Secretary of the United States Department of Commerce; the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the NMFS.
In the ruling the court agreed that the persistent overharvesting by the recreational fishing sector in recent years has harmed all stakeholders in the fishery, including commercial and recreational fishermen and fishing communities, and deprived consumers of access to fresh fish.